Home » Aviation Department

Aviation Department

Home / Navy Ship Structure / Aviation Department

Things You Should Know About Aviation Department

You’ve probably wondered about all those people in uniform scurrying around on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. Well, that’s the aviation department in action! This group oversees everything related to operating, maintaining, and supporting aircraft on Navy ships. From launching and recovering planes to keeping them mission-ready, the aviation department is a hive of nonstop activity.

Here, we’ll clue you in on what these sailors do day in and day out. You’ll learn about the different roles that make up the aviation department and how they work together to keep naval air power operating safely and efficiently. We’ll also give you a peek at life onboard as part of this unique team. Whether you’re just curious or considering a career in naval aviation yourself, you’re sure to find this inside look fascinating! So strap in and prepare for takeoff as we explore the world of the aviation department aboard merchant vessels.

Overview of the Aviation Department in the Merchant Navy

Deck Officers

The Aviation department is headed by the Chief Officer (CO) who oversees the ship’s cargo operations and deck crew. Working under the CO are Deck Officers – responsible for navigating and maneuvering the ship. They also supervise the deck crew handling cargo and passenger operations.

Engine Officers

Below deck, the Engineering department is led by the Chief Engineer (CE) who manages the ship’s engine and mechanical operations. The CE oversees Engine Officers and crew responsible for operating and maintaining the propulsion plant and support systems like electrical power, water, and ventilation.


The largest group is the Ratings – entry-level crew members who assist both Deck and Engine Officers. Deck Ratings handle cargo, assist passengers, maintain the ship’s exterior, and stand watch. Engine Ratings operate and repair engine equipment under the guidance of Engine Officers.

Staff Officers

Finally, Staff Officers handle administrative functions like payroll, purchasing, and personnel issues. The heads of the Deck, Engine, and Staff departments report directly to the ship’s Master who commands the overall vessel.

With a clear chain of command and division of responsibilities, the Aviation department works as a well-oiled machine to transport cargo and passengers across the high seas. Teamwork and competence are key to the safe and efficient operation of these massive merchant ships.

Key Roles and Responsibilities in the Aviation Department


The pilots are responsible for safely operating aircraft during flight operations. They undergo rigorous training to obtain certifications to captain specific aircraft. The pilots ensure aircraft are airworthy before take-off and properly maintain flight logs and records.

Flight Engineers

Flight engineers assist pilots in monitoring aircraft systems during flight. They help prepare aircraft for flight by conducting inspections and ensuring all systems are functioning properly. Flight engineers are also responsible for minor inflight repairs and troubleshooting any issues that may arise.

Aircraft Technicians

Aircraft technicians, also known as aircraft mechanics, are responsible for maintaining and repairing aircraft. They perform routine inspections, diagnostic testing, repairs, and part replacements to ensure aircraft remain in safe operating condition. Aircraft technicians undergo extensive training and certification to work on specific aircraft.

Aviation Logisticians

Aviation logisticians, or aviation supply specialists, manage the supply chain to support flight operations. They order and track aircraft parts, fuel, and other necessary supplies. Aviation logisticians also maintain inventory records and use forecasting tools to ensure adequate supplies are available when needed while avoiding excess stock.

With various roles and responsibilities working together, the aviation department is essential for allowing merchant ships to conduct flight operations at sea. By keeping aircraft and related equipment in working order, the aviation department helps enable critical functions like search and rescue, medical transport, and cargo transport.

Eligibility Criteria to Join the Aviation Department of the Merchant Navy

To join the Aviation department of the Merchant Navy as an officer, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria. The most important requirements are:


You must be at least 18 years of age to join as a trainee. However, the maximum age limit depends on the specific role. For example, to join as a helicopter pilot, the upper age limit is usually 32 years. The age criteria may vary for different aviation roles.

Educational Qualification

You must have a bachelor’s degree in Science, with Physics and Mathematics as main subjects. Some shipping companies may accept degrees in Engineering or Technology. Fluency in written and spoken English is also necessary. Knowledge of swimming and first aid are added advantages.

Physical Fitness

You must meet the minimum physical fitness standards set by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). This includes having a minimum height of 5 feet 2 inches, normal blood pressure, vision, and hearing. You should not have any physical disabilities or conditions that can hamper the safe operation of aircraft.


After selection, you have to undergo extensive training at a DGCA- approved aviation academy to obtain the necessary certifications and licenses for your role. The training program usually includes theoretical courses, simulator training, and on-the-job training. You need to clear all exams to become certified as an officer in the Aviation department.

To join the Merchant Navy as an aviation officer is challenging but also rewarding. If you meet the eligibility criteria and work hard during the training, you can have an exciting career in the aviation industry.

The job requires patience, responsibility, quick thinking, and decision making in stressful conditions. But in return, you get attractive pay, opportunity to travel, and job satisfaction.

So there you have it – a quick look at some of the key things you should know about the aviation department if you’re interested in a career in the merchant navy.

Naval aviation is a unique and exciting field, from the different roles and responsibilities to the skills and qualifications needed. However, it does come with real risks and requires extensive training and expertise. Ultimately, a job in naval aviation takes dedication, skill, and a sense of adventure.

If that sounds like you, it could be an amazing career path to pursue. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully first. But if you have a passion for aviation and the open ocean, it’s worth looking into the aviation department of the merchant navy.

Subscribe to Merchant Navy Info Daily Newsletter

Scroll to Top